EPA chief: Coal 'no longer marketable'

EPA chief: Coal 'no longer marketable'
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President Obama’s top environmental regulator said Thursday that coal-fired power is “not necessarily the path to the future” in the United States or around the world.

Fielding questions on Facebook, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyThe media’s tactics to silence science at Trump’s EPA Overnight Energy: EPA releases ozone findings | Lawmakers come out against Perry grid plan | Kids sue Trump on climate change Congress must come to terms on climate change regulation MORE promoted the work the Obama administration has taken on clean energy and said the U.S. is looking to move away from coal more aggressively in the future.

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“We know now, however, as China does, that it’s not necessarily the path to the future,” McCarthy said from Paris, where she’s taking part in the United Nations climate conference.

“We know in the U.S. that we are transitioning away from coal because coal is no longer marketable. We have cleaner natural gas, and we have opportunities for low-carbon sources like renewables and using energy efficiency to lower energy demand.”

The United States currently gets less than 40 percent of its electricity from coal, down from about 70 percent in 2005, according to the Energy Information Administration.  

The Clean Power Plan, an EPA regulation designed to cut carbon emissions from the power sector, is expected to hit coal especially hard. It has promoted lawsuits from the coal industry and coal-dependent states, and has led to charges that President Obama is engaged in a “war on coal.”

McCarthy, though, noted that other countries like China are also looking to cut on their coal use as part of a proposed global pact on climate change, which officials in Paris are working to finalize this week.

As part of that deal, the U.S. has said it will look to cut carbon emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025. China, the world's top emitter and a major coal user, has said it will try to peak its carbon emissions by 2030.

“We’re excited, the presidents have been working together, China is fully engaged, as is the U.S. and others, and we’re hopefully going to see the world come together today,” McCarthy said.